Private Journeys

Private Galapagos: Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands

8 days from £6,826pp

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands / Galapagos Islands

Marina Iguana

Essentials

Money

The price of this holiday is based on four passengers travelling together.

Transport

4 flights (longest 2-3 hours), water taxi, all private overground transfers.

Accomodation

This holiday incorporates a restored mansion in Quito, a deluxe tented lodge on Isabela Island and a first class beachside eco-lodge on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos.

Meals

Breakfast at Casa Gangotena, full board at Scalesia Lodge, breakfast and lunch at Finch Bay Resort.

Summary Of Nights

8 days, 7 nights: Quito 1; Isabela Island 3; Santa Cruz Island 3.

Currency

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar; in the Galápagos it is the US dollar.

Daily Spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$45 per day should cover the cost of good quality meals on those days in the holiday itinerary when not on the cruise, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the very best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in Quito, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can spend as the dollar is the local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused.

Recommended Tipping

Tips are welcomed and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

You might tip your guides in the Galápagos $US10 per person for a half day excursion or more for a full day.  

Tipping guidelines can be found in our Briefing Dossier.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 25 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return.

Galápagos guides have all undergone strict training in order to work in the islands, many have naturalist qualifications. Guides on activities such as kayaking and cycling are familiar with the local conditions. 

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. You should ensure you have travel insurance with coverage for all expenses associated with Covid-19.
Journey Latin America’s recommended insurance company is Campbell Irvine, and their medical and repatriation cover is handled by International Medical Assistance.

Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport Taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey Grade

This holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors. There are a number of outdoor activities to choose from at the lodges, advice can be given locally about their suitability for you personally. 

The sea can be choppy around the Galápagos islands.

Climate

In the Galápagos, from January to April it’s hot and the sun is relentless, with some sudden showers. May to July, and October to December is cloudier; August and September it’s often cloudy and cool, and a stiff breeze makes the waters choppier. High and Low seasons reflect demand rather than the best time to go.

Altitude

Quito stands at 2,850m above sea level. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. 

 

Clothing And Special Equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Trousers, skirts or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well on the Galápagos Islands. Long-sleeved shirts will protect you from insects and sunburn. 

Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring insect repellent, sun block, hat and sunglasses. You should take swimwear for ocean swimming (Galápagos). You can hire snorkelling equipment but may prefer to bring your own. Aqua-socks or rubber sandals are useful for embarking and disembarking on wet landings. Bring a light waterproof jacket in case of rain. For June to November departures, wetsuits are recommended, as the waters can be chilly for snorkelling.

Don’t forget your binoculars, camera, charger and cards.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America and Galápagos.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP.

For admission to the Galápagos a yellow fever certificate is required for anyone over 1 year old coming from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission. 

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Ecuador and Galapagos?

The country is an all-year-round destination. The highlands, at about 2,800m but astride the Equator, have a permanent spring-like climate. Most days have a sunny morning but there may be rain in the afternoon. The coast is very hot (30°C) and humid from Jan-Apr. It’s a bit cooler and drier from May-Dec. The jungle is hot and humid all year.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Ecuador and Galapagos?

Spanish

What's the official currency in Ecuador and Galapagos?

Ecuador uses the US dollar. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card.

What's the time difference between Ecuador and Galapagos and UK?

GMT -5 hours

What places combine well with Ecuador and Galapgos?

The Galápagos Islands, (1.5 - 3 hours by air from Guayaquil of Quito); a tour in Colombia to the north, with daily flights from Bogotá to Quito taking just 1.5 hours; the Inca archaeological sites of Peru (daily flights Lima to Quito take 2 hours 20mins).

Key Events

Carnival: Many places throughout the country, Feb-Mar variable. Be warned that the boisterous festivities include water fights from which no visitor is immune. 
Semana Santa (Easter): Many places throughout the country, Mar-Apr variable. Religious processions.
Todos los Santos (all souls day, day of the dead): Many places throughout the country, 2 Nov. Flower laying ceremonies in cemeteries, particularly striking in rural areas. 

A Note About Altitude

Ecuador’s high Andean spine is bookended by the Pacific coast and Amazon Rainforest, with Quito at 2,850m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude.  If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • Services of our team of experts in our London office base
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Private land transfers as described
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Scheduled excursions to nearby islands from Scalesia Lodge
  • Visit Los Gemelos volcanic sinkholes
  • Scheduled excursions to neighbouring islands from Finch Bay
  • Stargazing workshop at Finch Bay hotel
  • Excursion to Divine Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides
  • Services of our team of experts in our London office base
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Private land transfers as described
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Scheduled excursions to nearby islands from Scalesia Lodge
  • Visit Los Gemelos volcanic sinkholes
  • Scheduled excursions to neighbouring islands from Finch Bay
  • Stargazing workshop at Finch Bay hotel
  • Excursion to Divine Bay and Charles Darwin Research Station

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals other than specified
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Consultant

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

Meet the team